Welcome to the seventh documentary of the 2020 season of the documentary and one and in this story, we rewind almost 50 years to the 1972 Olympic Games, where Irish sports and politics collided on a global stage narrated by David Cochrane.
This is green and gold at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich. An Irishman took the lead in the cycling road race.
162 riders from 47 countries set off to cover 182 kilometres. Only he wasn't supposed to be there. He wasn't even entered in the race. What happened next made headlines around the world that brought us within every parent in Europe as Ireland's political divide spilled onto sport's biggest stage. Somebody had phoned the BBC to say that they finally went home to Belfast, MP, shot in my flat, would be bombed a bitter cycling civil war.
It was a sign of little gold tax on the road that had been put there broadcast to a global audience.
The riders that were on the line were and stopped it.
And indeed, all the riders were thoroughly briefed to make as peaceful a protest as possible. This is the story of how Irish sport and politics collided in Munich in 1972 and for one family, an Olympic dream that never died.
Eight months before those Olympic Games took place, 30th of January, 1972, Bloody Sunday, the day 13 unarmed civilians were shot dead in Derry by the British army.
How many dead have you seen in the Bogside appearing to be dead? There are the three in that Sarasohn car. There are two men laying at the end of this block of flats.
In the following days, the British embassy was burned down in Dublin. Crowds estimated at some 6000 assembled outside the British embassy for the second night running. First, it was a peaceful gathering. Then petrol bombs were hurled at the building.
Former Irish cyclist John Mangan was one of those present at the protests in Dublin.
I remember I was living in Dublin at the time to Germany simply to wait till I tell that they had the big protest in Dublin at the at the British embassy and all that. I mean, I would have been at that. I just watching it here these days.
John Mangan runs a hunting lodge in Klyn County. Kerry.
He's also the Irishman who took the lead in the cycling road race at the 1972 Olympic Games, even though he wasn't even entered in the race.
I was that in 1972. And that's the Olympics for a nice few miles. Unofficially, of course.
Back in 1972, John was one of the leading young writers in the country. But a major split in Irish cycling meant he wasn't allowed to compete on the international stage, as I always said, I wouldn't sell my soul for 30 pieces of silver by changing over to an association that I didn't believe in.
I mean, I believe in a to go into that city.
Back then, there were two internationally recognised Irish cycling organisations, one and the Republic of Ireland, with riders from the 26 counties and one in Northern Ireland with riders from the six counties.
You had to be a member of one of these cycling bodies to be able to officially qualify for the Olympic Games, but there was also a third Irish cycling body known as the NCAA or National Cycling Association and led by a group of prominent Republicans. This organization represented the entire island of Ireland, all 32 counties. They believed in an all Ireland organization and were prepared to fight for it.
The dispute was particularly bitter in the South between the 32 county NCA and the 26 County Irish Cycling Federation. The IQF. Each body had its own separate calendar of events, each running separate races, often on the same day. And although the riders didn't race against each other, the animosity was clear as rival events were sometimes sabotaged. Many of the riders found themselves at the center of a propaganda war that was as much about politics as it was about cycling.
One of those competing for the 32 county NCA body was the great cyclist Shay O'Hanlan, among them, who had none of the 31 year old president of NCEA and perhaps its most distinguished cycling guys that I went to, had training with and had great respect for.
But at the same time, we didn't have great respect for the organization because it wasn't as good as our organization. Our job was to make the NCAA stronger and seem stronger than the other side.
The NCAA was the Republican leaning body that wanted a 32 county cycling organization. But since 1947, the association and its riders had been barred from international competition, leading to years of acrimony and agitation between the rival administrations. There were protests at the 1955 World Championships and the 1956 Olympic Games by NBA riders, supporters of the NCAA were even believed to be behind the blowing up of a track in Dublin before a rival event in 1959 by 1972. They were prepared to take action again with a secret plan to protest at the Olympic Games in Munich hatched by Joe Cristol, a Dublin barrister and prominent Republican that was organized by Jockey Australia.
And it was put together probably the last couple of years of the Rossin 72 we are that he gave us the details where we'd be going.
The secret plan was to drive a team of riders and support staff across Europe in time for the Olympics in Munich and then gatecrashed the Olympic cycling road race itself.
Only those involved knew of the plan, and leading NCA figures like Shea O'Hanlan were kept in the dark.
It was raised in Venues Town. That's one Sunday. I was there and someone told me that there was a crowd gone after Munich to do a protest at the Olympics. And that was the first time I heard about it was just, you know, so they went down very quietly with no fanfare. And obviously they'd have to, you know.
Kieran McQuaid, father Jim McQuaid had managed the official Irish cycling team at the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico. Hello, Dad. Hi, Kiran. I know you come in the door on the left, the second floor, I'm at the top of the stairs. OK, great stuff.
OK, thanks to Kiran Road for the 26 county IQF organization. And he was determined to get selected for Munich in 1972.
The stories that I heard about that trip from my father just thought I just thought this. The Olympics is the be all and end all so worked until Christmas and studied until Christmas, passed the exam and then headed into 72 with one major ambition, and that was to get the Olympics. So when I was picked, it was a huge thing.
Two weeks before the Olympic Games, Kiran, McQuaid wrote in the 1972 tour of Ireland, an event that again highlighted the animosity between the rival factions, 85 such riders in the country set off from the GPO in Dublin to ride 750 torturous miles in the Rally Dunlop tour of Ireland.
McQuaid was riding alongside his teammates from the official Irish Olympic team Liam Horner, Peter Doyle and Noel Taggart.
And on the first day, from Dublin to Athlone, it was a breakaway but 16 riders.
I was in on the race for that yellow jersey he was on. It was early.
I was in a very hot day and I remember we were well-established. We were a minute or two off the road and everybody doing their peacemaking. And I remember looking up the road and seeing a bit of a sheen on the road, like sometimes you would see on a sunny day what looked like a mirage of a shine. When we got there. As it turned out, it wasn't just a shine of a mirage type shine. It was a shine of little gold tax on the road that had been put there.
The Republican led NCA had a long history of sabotage in their struggle with the internationally recognised 26 county IQF and the equivalent body in the north.
They weren't put there by some local farmer. They were put there by supporters of the NCA or NCA people. It cost me because on that day, as we were across these tracks, I had people broken. I got across through the tracks and I hadn't punctured and I was pretty the big sigh of relief. And then twice both of my wheels punctured, went down. Their protest cost me that day.
It was a major setback for McQuaid and the official Irish Olympic team. And it wasn't the last act of treachery they faced that week.
Towards the end of that race and on the last day into Dublin, we came in over the mountains and over the sally go. And in one of the dissents, all of a sudden we saw marshals on the road. You to slow down, slow down, slow down. But it was oil spread all over the road on the descent and it was a wet day. So a shocking danger. So these these were there ways of of making the case known.
And then, of course, what happened in Munich after that? That was a few weeks later.
Despite the disruption, McQuaid ended the week on the winning team, with Hauner topping the field. A fortnight later, McQuaid and the official Irish Olympic cycling team set off for West Germany. Riders were selected from the two internationally recognized bodies on the island.
The team was made up of three riders from the official body in the south Kieran McQuaid, Peter Doyle and Liam Horner, and one from the body in the north, Noel Tagaq.
Another athlete traveling from Northern Ireland was Belfast, Mary Peters, who was competing in the pentathlon.
Born in Liverpool, she was set to represent Britain in Munich at a time of heightened political tension in the north.
It was the worst year years the troubles had been. Over 500 people died that year. And in terrorist attacks, I didn't have a track to train on because the one I used was owned by the university. It was full of potholes.
The difficulty of training during the troubles was compounded by the lack of facilities. It wasn't easy.
I didn't have a car. I used to get two buses, one into the city centre and then another one to the training track.
I just did it even though bombs sometimes were going off as you're travelling on the bus. And I would be carrying my four kilos short and my starting blocks. And, you know, you just did it and he had no alternative and I just wanted to win so much.
The games of the 20th Olympiad opened on the 26th of August 1972. The pentathlon was made up of five events on the 3rd of September 1972, Mary Peters took to the line in the final event of the pentathlon. The 200 meters and the whole competition rested on this sprint finale.
So the girl on the inside partner Palak, Mary Peters, Angella over, Tekmira over Rosendale. Rosendale was set them on showing the role for Rosendale. Mary Peters just pipped local favorite, West Germany's Heidi Rosendorff and in doing so, won gold, the only athletics gold that Britain would win at the 1972 Olympic Games.
The following day, the British Olympic Association had a reception today to congratulate me.
And while I was there, they said that I said to my coach, there's something not quite right here, what's going on? And he said, nothing that you need to know about. And it was that somebody had phoned the BBC to say that if I went home to Belfast, I'd be shot and my flat would be bombed. And I said, well, I'm going home anyway.
Meanwhile, with the Olympic cycling road race set for the 6th of September, the anchor's secret team assembled in Ostend in Belgium for the journey to Munich. Pat Healy from Killgallon in County. Kerry was one of the riders. He made the trip from Belgium with fellow NCEA rider John Mangan in a car driven by the 32 county organization's man in West Germany, Andy Rafter.
And he picked us up. And one of those big Ford Zodiac's of the time, it was a very big car. And then they drove McAloon Hezbollah, which was the fashionable cardinal opponent at the time. So he came in his character, Ostende, and between the two candidates was plenty of room to get us all down to the job for trousers. All right. I suppose we're through two days on the road, I suppose, to get there about.
And we didn't make it in one day anyway, for sure. Seven cyclists and three support staff that were intent on gatecrashing the Olympic cycling road race to highlight their cause, to allow their riders compete on the international stage again. We arrived the day before the Olympics. Amongst them was John Mangan, and we stayed in a hotel a year after had organised and I never forget where we were staying was fortunate enough to stress. I was thinking of the first because when we went out to do with the protest, nobody brought the address on the yacht so they could never tell us what we were staying.
But I had it in my mind. The 49 empl stress.
Packed in their bags was a set of white jerseys with green and orange hopes this would be the unofficial Irish team kit. The night before the race, the team of protesters went through the plan again, they were to make a peaceful protest and ride the Olympic cycling road race for as long as possible. The plan was to send four riders to the start line and covertly start the race, even though they had no race numbers. Another three were to wait in some trees up the road and join the race as it passed at 49 Implats Stresser, each rider was briefed on their role in the House.
The group had no television and little or no contact with anyone else as they prepared to gatecrash the biggest sporting event on the planet. It was the 5th of September 1970 to the eve of the Olympic cycling road race. The plan was in place and nothing could stop them now.
This is an ITN news flash from the Olympic Village in Munich, where early this morning armed Palestinian guerrillas raided the sleeping quarters of the Israeli team.
As the protesters slept, a group of Palestinian gunmen called Black September had taken members of the Israeli Olympic team hostage and were demanding the release of hundreds of prisoners. The Black September group pushed their political demands in front of perhaps the biggest audience in history.
There was worldwide shock as the siege unfolded live on television over 24 dramatic hours. Their credibility with that audience was another matter after an earlier report that the Israeli athletes had been rescued. It was announced that they had died along with five of the guerrillas.
Horrific eyewitness accounts began to emerge from the Olympic Village at about four 30 this morning.
I heard I was fast asleep when I woke up and heard our international wrestling referee. Joseph got frightened and shouting, Boys, run out, run away. I saw a very strange picture. I saw Joseph Godefroy holding the door and trying to keep it shut and some people from the outside pushing it open. It was about half open is a very hefty fellow. And he held them and kept shouting to us to escape.
Escape he Kuyper is a former cyclist who was representing the Netherlands at the 1972 Olympics.
We wake up the day of the accident.
His accommodation was not far from where the Black September siege was taking place.
And we went to the breakfast room. Did you hear that? What's going on with that? Yeah, there was they were shooting tonight and I was a good sleeper, I think. But and we went outside and then we saw not so far from our apartment, the Palestinians with the guns and the mask and everything.
Having already received a death threat herself, Mary Peters was swiftly brought to the airport under armed guard.
I think there were eleven people had died. So it was arranged that I would go home early. I'm not sure what the thinking was in the sense that I had been threatened to, but I was happy to to go home.
Like most of the athletes in Munich, Mary Peters was unaware of the scale of the tragedy at the time, I knew one of the hurdles his coaches had been killed.
We didn't have any information because it was all in German.
We didn't know what was happening. And of course, we hadn't we hadn't realised the severity. We knew that the camp was surrounded by army tanks.
Two Israeli athletes were killed during the day long siege at the Olympic Village and there was criticism of the German police's handling of the crisis.
Nine more died during a botched rescue attempt by the German police at a nearby airport. Five of the Palestinian gunmen were also killed, along with a German police officer in the final gun battle. This was the first time Germany had hosted the Olympic Games since Berlin in 1936. During Adolf Hitler's reign, Hitler had used the 1936 Games to promote Nazi ideology of racial supremacy and anti-Semitism. The 1972 games in Munich were supposed to be Germany's redemption as Olympic hosts, but a lack of security would cost them dearly.
Mary Peters asked her pentathlon rival, the German Heidi Rosendale, about the tragedy.
That I said to Heidi, you know, why did it happen then? She said, because Munich is in Bavaria. It's part of Germany. But they wanted to make it a happy games after the sadness of the Berlin games. And she said that they hadn't thought about the security and therefore it was easy to get into the village.
Kiran McQuade and the official Irish Olympic cycling team were also in the dark about the extent of the atrocity and whether the games would continue.
And the day before we were supposed to race, the Black September incident happened. And we went to bed that night not knowing whether the Olympics were postponed for a week, cancel those all sorts of rumors going around the village, nobody knew we even got up the following him the day that we were due to ride the Olympic Road race. And went down to the canteen to get our food for breakfast and in our in our tracksuits and I still there were still not nobody was one percent sure the rumors were going around still.
But we were told that morning that everything was put back a day back at 49, Strasser, John Mangin and the group of 32 county recycling protesters woke unaware of the events of the night before they headed off to a now deserted Olympic cycling circuit to disrupt a race that was clearly now not going ahead.
The following morning without breakfast, maybe more like a dinner and breakfast because of the race, we would go to the race and we were waiting for only two hours and we realized shit around the office. And then somebody met one of the lawyers and I said, is the race not on? And I said, did he not hear? There was 13 Israeli shot dead yesterday by the Palestinians? And everything is canceled Friday.
Despite the atrocity, the Olympic Games resumed after just one day of mourning with the cycling road race rescheduled for the 7th of September.
The rogue Irish team from the 32 county NCA regrouped and a decision was taken to proceed with the protest.
The race was set for 11:00 a.m..
The audacious plan to interrupt the Olympic Games and make international headlines for their cause of Irish unity was about to unfold. Four of the team, Pat Healy, Brian Holmes, TPE Riley and Gabriel Howard headed to the start line with their bikes and cycling gear for all the world looking like official competitors only, of course they weren't.
A further three writers, John Mangin, Butti, Flynn and Brian Davay were waiting in some woods up the road since 7:00 am, ready to join the race as it passed, three more were at the course to act a support staff, Benny Dunlea, Joe McAloon and David McLernon. With everyone now in place, they watched and waited. Heny Cooper was representing the Netherlands in the 1972 Olympic cycling road race that was about to begin.
We went to the stop and then went to the boxes where you can change your clothing and put it before the race. But some are a lot more relaxed. And get your water bottle on your bike and you have your fourth in your bag. And then I was something special.
As Henney Koper waited for the start alongside the other official competitors, Pat Healy and the other NCEA cyclists were warming up in their white jerseys, trying desperately to blend in.
There were some riders with a bike sitting on the street. They were wearing white and green.
Brian Holmes, TPE Riley and Gabriel Harad of the protesters were halted at the start line by race officials as they were led away. They tried to hand out leaflets in English, French and German about the protest. Two of them also unfurled a banner that read British Army Occupies Our Sporting Fields.
All the camps with the different teams were lined up along the roads.
All the roads are warming up. But Pat Healy managed to avoid detection and watch the clock ticking down to the start of the race, just keeping an eye on the countdown clock and was just cruising up and down the road.
And Pat's job was to try and get started in the Olympic race despite not having qualified and having no race, no on his back. Everybody was busy preparing, so nobody really bothered me much. And then as the lineup was happening, I was still warming up on the ice to get into the line and get ready.
I rode the bike up the road cause they were lining up as the clock was coming right down to the to zero. And I mean, it just turned the bike back into the front of the group. So I got started right at the front of the group. If I was going to do something, it was the perfect time. I got a perfect start to the. Once the race got underway, Karen McQuade of the official Iris team was safely amongst the cycling at high speed, unaware of the 32 county NCEA protesters who went out.
And we knew nothing of anything going on at the start and there was something going on start. Apparently, there was four riders trying to get into the actual event and have that protest at the start. But German police cop that they didn't have race numbers and politely took them away, maybe not so politely, but anyway, they were taken away.
Meanwhile, the other three riders, including John Mangum, were waiting in the woods ready to join in.
We went through it a couple of ways, maybe two and a half miles, and there was woods. So we waited just to maybe 10 or 20 meters of the side, a little bit like the motorway coming toward the because whatever it was then the fighters came along and we we fell into the middle of it and that was it.
Tear racing for the official Irish Olympic team. And in a race he dreamed about, Kieran McQuaid couldn't believe his eyes.
I remember at one stage as we climbed up a hill was a lap checkered race for so many laps. I remember on the hill when I saw what looked like three bike riders getting out of a hedge on the hill and jumping into the race. And the first thing I thought was there must be a lot of people just don't even think about it. Don't worry about somebody else.
John Mangan was quietly watching and waiting from the edge of the woods as the race came his way.
And he was about to make history by joining the Olympics, maybe four or five miles up the road with a few for about 15 minutes. Yeah. And then I attacked and I said, I love the Olympics for a good few miles. And the only fellow who was able to stay with me was a Russian. There was a bit of confusion when I thought of leaving the Olympics had. No, no. And he shouldn't be in the Olympics.
Alarm bells were now ringing for Karen McQuade. But then a couple of maybe a mile or two up the road, I ended up behind one them and I noticed he was wearing a white shirt with a green and gold band. And I looked at his bike and it was the same because I was riding and I knew who the guy was. And I thought, oh, my God, we've got three and skateboarders in the bunch.
Pat Healy, one of the rogue NCA riders, was enjoying the experience competing against the best amateurs in the world.
I was still in the race when when the lads came in to us, but we never met anybody. As it turned out, and I wasn't pulled out by the officials or anything, but his Olympic experience was about to come to an abrupt end.
I was involved in a crash. It was a standard crash and the race was gone by the time we got out. But I suppose it's often people of different countries.
But John Mangan was still in the action and he wanted to prove what the rogue 32 county NCA riders could do on the international stage.
I mean, the way I looked at it was we were as good as any any of them. Yeah, I mean, I'm certain that I was going to go there, that I wouldn't say I would win. It certainly would be.
In the first six in the Mangin was forced back into the safety of the bunch by race marshals on motorbike. It was here that he encountered no tegus from Banbridge, the lone rider from the Northern Irish buddy who was cycling and competing for the official Irish Olympic team. No, Tagget was in the best form of his career at the time and had ambitions to win a medal. However, things quickly became heated between the two. There was some little bit of hassle with some of the other cyclists.
Like one of them said to me, there's a lot of Southern bastards around this morning and I took offense to that idea.
John Mangin claims those were the words of Noel Tagget, something that is dismissed by Kieran McQuaid.
Not a chance. Not a chance. So I disagree with John McCain. There's no traffic and can make excuses for all you want, but there's no chance that. No, no, we'll take it from the last international race.
Regardless of what was said, McQuaid saw the situation quickly escalating on the Hill the next lap as we came to the top of it, of the right hand side of the bunch, the peloton, and I saw it just in front of me. Tiger being pushed from behind into the crowd and held. We're, you know, 25. And all of a sudden I was past the tip of the totem pole. The first thought was to stop and go back and help.
Kieran McQuaid was faced with a dilemma. Stop and help his teammate who'd been dragged out of the race by a rogue rider or keep himself in the race with no talking to the truck driver. I was only a 21 year old student who was well able to handle himself and this little bit rubbish. And I said, no, you know, it's no point going back because he's, well, just kept going. And I didn't see him again until after we finished.
And he is needless to say, he was in not in good shape. It was disconsolate. He couldn't he was he was heartbroken.
John Mangan maintains the row that ended Noel Taggart's race wasn't planned after the race for some of the papers.
Interview with McQuaid on that. Yeah, I mean, I wouldn't believe too much, but McQuaid would say I mean, he said that that he saw me being aggressive with the riders and all that sort of thing I thought was bullshit. And yeah. So, I mean, I wouldn't take advantage of his publicity for his statements. Yeah. He he was there with the objective of making a protest. You know, people had got these riders and said, this is the way this is what we've got to do.
I mean, some of them afterwards claimed over there to ride the bike race. They had protest leaflets in the back pockets about British occupation in Northern Ireland. If I'm riding 100 mile bike race, I know what I want in my back pocket.
I want some food, some substance, not protest about British occupation, but not John Mangan has a different view of things.
They give out leaflets at the start while they were afraid they were doing their protest. Yeah, I think it was in three languages, English, French and German. I had no and we had no leaflets because we were Waltraud joining the race. I mean, my job was to to prove to us that it was as good as the best of them. Yeah. And they're doing test.
And I don't believe I am as fired over this any global any Kyprolis of this whole. It is called a little Dutch cyclist Amy Kiper went on to win gold. The official Irish cycling team had seen their Olympic hopes disrupted. Leam Horner finished in thirty eight position, Kieran McQuaid in fourth place and Peter Doyle in sixty ninth position. The disconsolate Noel Taggart was unable even to finish the race. Afterwards, the riders from both sides of the Irish cycling divide tried to pick up the pieces.
Ortigas No Landreaux talk to a spokesman from the rogue team about the protest that had disrupted the Olympics. We were protesting against Britain's interference in Irish affairs to the extent that the NCA is not internationally recognised. This is not the first protest. This is our third international protest. We had one at Melbourne Olympics and one at the world championships in a row to the cost you a lot of money to organise this, and it causes a lot of our own money to come here.
But our feelings are such that we think any money we spend is well worth the effort. And as many of you all together can, we have seven cyclists, more than just seven cyclists. You lot more support to. Well, we had some supporters in this country and we also myself and two other deputy managers. But now there's word of accusation that you interfered with one of the riders from HCF. Well, as I have not spoken yet to the riders who are being accused, I can't deny or confirm that.
But I can say that the riders that were on the line were instructed and indeed all the riders were thoroughly briefed to make us peaceful protests possible.
Later on, a deflated Kieran McQuaid from the official Irish Olympic team. OK, to talk to you about the dramatic race and the incident, this upset you try to not comment until I was coming to town, did you know what was going to happen? We didn't know anything about it now. Did you not see any of these lads around beforehand? No, we didn't. You know, I'm not really a complete surprise. I couldn't comment. Despite the heightened security in Munich after the Black September massacre, one of the 32 county NCA Reuters, Pat Healy, who took part in the cycling protest, recalls the West German police being relaxed about the situation.
The authorities were to be very understanding. They were able to make the decision. They knew it was something much, much smaller. Otherwise the reaction would have been more heavy handed. I suppose they could see clearly we were inside. Can you say he couldn't be armed anyway? So they knew they didn't have an armed situation to deal with. That was just shots, shots and racing. Jersey was the one that had to deal with but not never done this be could be shot or anything like that.
That would be mistaken for terrorists or whatever.
John Mangin was arrested but released without charge later that evening.
The story was front page news in every paper in Ireland and made international headlines. Meanwhile, Mary Peters attended a homecoming reception in Belfast in spite of the death threats she had received, the homecoming was memorable as trouble torn Ulster United to give her a hero's welcome shared with her coach, the late Buster McShane.
Born near Liverpool, Mary Peters was the golden girl of her adopted home.
I went to go. I went gold and I brought it back for you. When the Irish cyclist returned home, both the official team and the rogue 32 county NCA team, it was a different sort of homecoming. Diplomatically, the NCA protest had caused international embarrassment. Then Tisha Jacklin stepped in, giving the protesting riders a public rebuke and summoning the protest orchestrator Joe Crystal to government buildings. It's a story that fellow NCA member John Mangan remembers.
Well, it's not really. No one is Jack Lynch. He called in Joy into the office, a teacher's office, and he said any more any more protests like communicant that he would withdraw all passports if I to it off. And that was the end of that.
One of the NCA cyclists, Brian Holmes, was interned soon after returning to Belfast. The others went back racing as before, when the dust had settled. There was change afoot in Irish cycling. In November 1972, Shey O'Hanlan became president of the NCA, the organisation that had protested that day in Munich. Soon afterwards, O'Hanlan went for a training ride with Kieran McQuaid, one of the cyclists who the NCA had tried to upstage at the Olympics.
It was the beginning of the end of the split in Irish cycling that had lasted for decades in time for a golden era that would see the likes of Sean Kelly, Stephen Roach, Martin, Erin and Paul Kimmage reached the top of the sport in the 1980s, racing under the banner of a unified all Ireland body.
Is that right?
Coming up behind them, John Mangan believes the Munich protest was the catalyst. If we didn't do that, it would be split. Well, it might be split, but it would be a split for another couple of years and at least of protest. I mean, got a got the three associations talking together and got together.
And Pat Healy agrees with a shock therapy.
I said to the Big Bear, getting people talking. In other words, I think we did the right thing to do to 67 year old, 80 year old, and I wouldn't do it like at 21 a year. Different times.
Former NCA president Shay O'Hanlan believes change was coming anyway.
I have great respect for the guys, but at the same time, it didn't play. It had to be played down afterwards.
Despite what happened in Munich, Noel Taggart was a driving force behind the northern clubs, joining the new power sharing cycling body. Pat Healy won the first ever national championships held between the three associations under an All Ireland banner in 1979. John Mangan, meanwhile, raced as an amateur in France with great success until the mid 1980s.
To this day, John Mangan believes the protesters did the right thing that day in Munich. The cyclist, they are their only interest was racing to get the Lake Macquarie to twist things into the favour. The opposite, like which of the only good thing he ever did was it was one of the stages of the race started back in England that he came to me and he asked me what I talk, you know, it I said over the course, I said, I have nothing against the man like and we went down to it together and shook hands.
And as I said to him, there was no good in talking about the past, who was right and who was wrong, because he it is you. I admire you. So, I mean, we talked about the future.
Yeah. Yeah. We made our pizza and I think the poor man died with it a year or two years later. Can tell. Yeah. It would have been better if it in another way it ended up that he could have finished his race. I could have finish my race and then you never know. We might have ended up at the lane together chatting, but at least we got together to talk about.
Young Kieran McQuaid is happy it happened.
I spoke to Noel afterwards and I said, I leave you to your hands. He said, we did. And I said, what words were spoken? You said. He said to me, I said, well, you shouldn't have gone as far as I'm concerned, that is next to an apology as I was not available to get. And I'm very happy that it happened.
And now, five decades later, there is a new generation of Irish cyclists riding high in the sport. Among them, an exciting young professional racing in France. Last year, he rode the Olympic test event in Tokyo and he's determined to push on for a place on the Irish team. Having heard most of this story, this family name might be familiar to you.
Now put your hands together for my new tag. His name is Tegus Matthew.
Take our time, Matthew, funny for an Irish international road cyclist, and he's the grandson of Noel Taggart, the Northern Irish writer who competed for the official Irish team and whose Olympics was brought to an end by the NCAA's protest in Munich in 1972. Matthew was just a baby when Noel Taggart passed away, but he knows all about his grandfather's legacy.
That's mainly about my grandfather. And it was really him who was the turning point in the whole divide north south because of what happened at the Olympics. So anyone cycling in Ireland, north or south, as you write for Ireland, Matthew has already represented Ireland at elite international level.
But just like his grandfather, Matthew would dearly love to ride in the Olympic Games, the 2020 Olympics was postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak, like I should have been in France racing all over the world all year.
So really, we've had to take a big backseat.
But Matthew has been back in Banbridge County down training hard with an eye on the rescheduled games in 2021 for Matthew's dad, Neil, also an international rider. It would be a dream come true and a piece of family history for any sportsperson.
The Olympics is probably the ultimate dream. And I wouldn't say, Glenn, there's the Tour de France and all. But for any sportsperson to compete in the Olympics is the ultimate dream and even ran the train and even ride the whole, you know, like no matter where I would go, yet they would say to me, you know, you know, all targets on, you know, the Olympics and all the rest. So it's such a big thing for anyone.
Would have been my dream growing up to go to the Olympics in Moscow, you could have a go out there and there'd be all the more special, really, for heaven, for us and for the whole family, really.
The coronavirus may have halted him in 2020, but Matthew Tiggers is determined to complete the race started by his grandfather know nearly 50 years ago. It'll be extremely special, obviously, even with the legacy, I think the Olympics as every sportsman's dream that would make it even more special. And follow me, if you know what I mean. That would be a dream come true. So the dream is not over. It's just postponed. Today's documentary and One Green and Gold was narrated by David Cocklin.
It was produced by David Cocklin and Donal O'Herlihy.